Local Woman Climbing World Rankings in MMA

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- It's one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and Cleveland is home to one of the best. MMA or Mixed Martial Arts has become strangely irresistible, especially in Cleveland where a female is sitting atop the standings.

Meet Jessica Eye.

"I was raised by my father and brother. I guess I had that tomboy sense to me," said Eye.

The 25-year-old did it all growing up in Portage County.

"Baseball, softball, track, basketball, soccer, I think I did a little 4H, I BMXd for a little while," Eye said.

Eye had a life-changing experience at the age of 19. She ventured into the world of Mixed Martial Arts. At 20, Eye was competing in the ring as an amateur.

"It was like a blessing. I was so excited; it was like Christmas for me," said Eye.

"How do you tell a young lady she can't do what she wants to do," said Jessica's father Randy.

Eye was the first Cleveland female to fight MMA style.

"I think it's great," Randy Eye said.

She beat Kari Ricker by technical knock out in her first amateur fight. In 2009, she turned pro and suffered her first defeat to Aisling Daly.

"I had went consecutive five years between grappling tournaments, boxing matches and MMA; I hadn't lost, and maybe a part of me made me think I was invincible," Jessica said.

Eye quickly made a name for herself. She climbed the world rankings and is currently ranked fifth.

"It's just a number to me. Until I am at the top and I'm holding a World Championship trophy in my hands, then I can consider myself a true champion," said Jessica.

"She has the talent and ability to be one of the best female fighters in the world," said Greg Kalikas, Jessica's manager.

At 25, Jessica is considered a young buck in the MMA world. She is 12 and 1 overall and 7 and 1 as a professional.

"I think in the next couple of years we can definitely see the "Evil One" holding a world title in the Bellator cage," said Jessica.

"I really believe she hasn't scratched the surface of her real potential," Kalikas said.

Jessica's life changed forever at the age of 16 when she and her dad were involved in a car accident. They were hit by a drunk driver. Jessica hurt her back and was told she would never play competitive sports again. She is now using that as motivation in the ring.

"I remember the time when I couldn't walk. I was completely bed ridden and I think to myself, 'I'm so happy that I'm able to walk; I'm able to run; I'm able to punch; I'm able to kick,' " Jessica said.

Eye goes by many names, like "Jess" or "Jo-Jo."  But everybody simply knows her as Jessica "The Evil" Eye.

"It's a scare tactic to think I'm nice, and then I go in the cage, and that's where I see evil," said Jessica.

Jessica's dad, Randy, will be the first to admit he gets a little uneasy when his daughter steps into the ring.

"I get nervous a little bit, but I have a lot of faith in God," said Randy.

But he knows every fight is a small step towards the top.

"Jessica is a once-in-a-generation type of fighter," Kalikas said.

Eye's full-time job is fighting, and when she is not in the ring, she is a personal trainer at StrongStyle Gym in Independence, where she helps others reach their goal of being the best.